Leading cannabis/hemp advocate and entrepreneur, Morris Beegle is the co-founder and president of the WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) family of brands, including the NoCo Hemp Expo, the world’s most comprehensive hemp-centric conference and exposition. WAFBA also includes Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars, a manufacturer of boutique hemp guitars cabinets and components, Tree-Free Hemp, a hemp paper and printing company, Let’s Talk Hemp, a comprehensive digital media platform, and more.
Spanning education, advocacy, manufacturing and entertainment, Beegle’s endeavors are both pioneering and award winning. Travelling several continents, Beegle regularly engages audiences in N.A., Europe, UK, Nepal and beyond, appearing at dozens of events and conferences each year.
In this exciting episode, Morris gave emphasis on how he’s committed to bring innovative and education to the forefront from all over the world and many different facets of the hemp industry.
We want to continue to see how we can build out our own media platform that can serve the industry so businesses can connect with consumers, connect with other businesses and service providers. – Morris Beegle
Some Topics We Discussed Include
4:04 – From music to hemp
11:08 – Facets in jumping into the hemp space
16:34 – How is Coronavirus impacting the hemp market?
21:48 – Focus on 2020
31:39 – Designing NoCo Expo
34:42 – Let’s Talk Hemp
44:27 – Looking forward to 2021 after the Corona craze
47:10 – Tree Free Hemp
51:49 – Words of wisdom
58:30 – Where to find them
People Mentioned / Resources
CW Hemp (Stanley Brothers)
Connect with Morris Beegle
We Are For Better Alternatives:
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up guys, Sonia Gomez is coming to you from Denver, Colorado on another rock your socks episode of The Hemp Revolution podcast where we are sharing and telling the real story of cannabis and hemp through the eyes of the entrepreneurs and changemakers who are pushing this incredible industry forward.
As you know, it is our mission to empower you with the truth so that you can make educated decisions about how you care for yourself and the people that you love or otherwise participate in the growth of this incredible industry. Check us out at medicalsecrets.com if you are someone looking for products and information that’s easy to digest and easy and effective to use. And also, if you’re a budding entrepreneur or business owner in the space breaking through glass ceilings and brick walls, shoot me an email. I’d love to get to know your story a little better, firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be looking forward to connecting.
You guys. I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back today because once again, I have pulled one of the most incredible leaders in our space, out of the woodwork and onto my podcast. Thank you very much round of applause for me. I work to serve you guys every day and bringing you really highly informative and super successful people in this space. And success shows up for me in a couple of different ways. Number one is the impact that somebody is able to make. And we both know that as an entrepreneur or a business owner if you’re making an incredible impact. Generally, your income or revenue is a direct reflection of the impact that you are making.
And so today, I have one of the most impactful people in the hemp industry with us to share how he is approaching and dominating multiple facets of the space. Leading cannabis and hemp advocate and entrepreneur Morris Beagle is the co-founder and president of the WAFBA We Are For Better Alternatives family of brands, including the NoCo hemp Expo the SHE Expo, the world’s most comprehensive hemp centric conference and exposition. WAFBA also includes Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars, a manufacturer of boutique hemp guitars, cabinets, and components Tree-Free hemp, a hemp paper, and printing company, and Let’s Talk Hemp, a comprehensive digital media platform and more.
Spanning education, advocacy, manufacturing, and entertainment. Beegle’s endeavors are both pioneering and award-winning, traveling several continents. Beegle regularly engages the audience in Europe, the UK, Nepal, and beyond. I mean, this is one of the global health entrepreneurs and changemakers. And he has been appearing at dozens of events and conferences each year.
Super excited to hear more about his story on how he gets started, how he is taking over. And in some cases, designing new facets of this industry while supporting other folks and entrepreneurs who are growing their businesses and impact helped me welcome my good friend Morris Beegle. How’s it going, Morris?
Morris Beegle: Good, Sonia. How are you doing?
Sonia Gomez: I’m doing really well. I’m so happy to have you on the show. Thanks for joining me.
Morris Beegle: Absolutely. Thanks for having me on.
From Music to Hemp
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of people know your brand. Many folks, I think behind the scenes which are directly related to the events, know who you are and what you’re up to. You have an incredible team of people around you who put make sure that you’re well protected. Make sure that you’re well protected. I’ve been fortunate enough to do some extensive research to attend some of your events and to get you to know you, at least on paper, but not everybody has been so privileged. Will you take a moment to introduce yourself, share a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and how you ended up in the cannabis and hemp craze?
Morris Beegle: Sure, well, again, thanks for having me on the show The Hemp Revolution, which coincides kind of with the message that we’ve got going on because there is a hemp revolution going on. It’s been going on for a long time, and it’s going to continue to go on, and it’s not going to derail by a government, which we know we’ve been plowing through that for a long time. But we’re not going to get derailed by Coronavirus, either. There’s nothing that’s going to stop the hemp in the cannabis revolution and movements.
There's nothing that's going to stop the hemp in the cannabis revolution and movements. - Morris Beegle Click To Tweet
So I feel fortunate to be in the position that I actually come from the music industry and its music industry that led to where I am at this point in time. So I was in the music industry from the late 80s through basically 2010-2011. And during that time, I’ve been a cannabis user, a cannabis supporter for a long time, more recreationally than medicinally. And familiar with the hemp side of things since the mid-90s. When I moved back to Colorado, I grew up here, started a record company production company in Fort Collins. And then during that time, there was a store here called The Emperor Wears no Clothes. That was a small little boutique hemp store here in Fort Collins, and it had clothing and rope and soap and lotions and the jack hair book. The Emperor Wears no Clothes, where I familiarize myself more with the history of the plant.
It's the music industry that led to where I am at this point in time. - Morris Beegle Click To Tweet
That being in the music industry, it’s like alright, well all that stuff’s cool. I’m glad that I know about it. But I’m in the music industry. And I’m pressing CDs and doing recordings and promoting bands and doing festivals and management, licensing and printing and all of these other kinds of jack of all trades, master of none type of scenario. So with that, I worked with thousands of independent artists, thousands of indie labels, and really was kind of this indie, music producer, promoter type guy. And the music industry really got kind of leveled by the internet once Napster came out, mp3.com came out these things and all these peers to peer file sharing networks Demonoid Pirate Bay, where people could go and download the entire discography of bands. This really impacted the music industry from a physical product sale. So CDs, DVDs, and kits that were already done, that people just stopped buying physical music, which turned manufacturers like myself and labels and production companies.
So as that continued to wean people out of the music industry from 2005 to 2010, we were one of the last standing folks in that. It’s like, Where am I going to go from here because I see kind of the writings on the wall. But I had amassed this skill set of being able to do a variety of different things. And here comes medical marijuana in Colorado, and I got my medical card; I had had an accident in the early 2000s and had back surgery and was on opioids and doing more kind of that type of medication. And it’s like, Man, that stuff’s really not good and started the medicinal side of things.
And then when Amendment 64 popped up in 2012, we had hemp clause in that adult usage legislation, and it’s like, wow, Tim, maybe there’s an opportunity here. So a partner of mine, Elizabeth Knight, and I started Colorado hemp company in 2012, started doing t-shirts and hats, and then we found a hemp paper company, and we started our own hemp paper printing company. And from there, we just started building these little different facets. We started the NoCo hemp Expo in 2014. And Let’s Talk Hemp in 2015.
And here we are in 2020, we’ve got a bunch of brands, and we’ve got some successful events, and we’ve got these different entities that are all kind of functioning under our umbrella. And it’s been great to see how this side of the industry and the side of the plant has exploded really, since that all started in 2012 here in Colorado, and I mean, not that it started here. I mean, the movements have been going on for decades by people long before myself jumped into the movement. But really, in the last seven, eight years, things have moved forward significantly.
Sonia Gomez: I mean, you are not kidding, I got to be honest with you coming out of California where I was born and raised. I mean, I was pretty nomadic. My parents raised me in a pretty, avant-garde way. We traveled the United States following Native American Indians around, so plant medicines and this whole like of the earth mentality is very much a part of my fabric.
Cannabis and hemp are just one of the many medicines that were available and around us, and we got to see it in all of its glory. You know, these running around barefoot in diapers in these giant forests of these trees were quite literally the struggling owners of the industry. You know, the legacy folks who brought seeds over in their backpacks from nom and Pakistan and all over the place are very close friends and family members of ours. So being around these plant medicines was I kind of took for granted for a long time. And we would attend things like the rainbow gathering or reggae on the river, or these huge sort of legacy festivals where it was a polarizing audience were people who were advocating for biodiesel and the many uses for hemp and hempcrete. And, you know, all of these different what are now considered disruptors for multiple industries.
Cannabis and hemp are just one of the many medicines that were available and around us and we got to see it in all of its glory. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
Back then, these advocates were considered kooky, sort of the hippie types not really taken very seriously, the institute up in Hopland, where a lot of this sustainable workshops and things that incorporated the use of him, are now world-famous institutes. And so much is happening with the innovation of hemp. So many disruptions are happening across multiple industries now, most of which we recognize in the hemp industry or in the medical industry.
Facets in Jumping into the Hemp Space
And I’m curious to know, with each one of these facets that you open to your business to be representative of hemp in its growth, did you know that it was going to turn into what it was turning into? Like, did you plan in your head, okay, we’re going to be the largest or most recognized hemp event and media platform for CBD and hemp-based products, or was it just an organic growth?
Morris Beegle: I think it was really more of organic growth. When we got into this, it’s like, where are we gonna go now? Or, I was like, Where am I gonna go now after the music industry? And I always say that there’s a way to tie the music industry side of things into now promoting the plant on the planet? And how can I take my skill set and bring it to this industry because I see that we need to make changes as a species? And if we don’t move away from kind of this fossil fuel paradigm that we’ve been in, and this pharmaceutical paradigm that and this mono-crop, big-ag paradigm that we’re in the really our species is our days are numbered, I mean, will go extinct at some time, but we can prolong this.
And I think that hemp is a leading candidate to be out in front of this, because those of us within the cannabis space, in the hemp space, we really do care about a better future for our planet, and for our families, and our friends in the species overall. So I think that is prohibited for the last eighty years and with Jack Herer, opening up the knowledge of the past in the mid-80s, with his book, and then all the subsequent renditions of it. I mean, there are literally millions of us out there that have been influenced by the information that he put out there and others that helped him put this together. I mean, you’re one of them. And a lot of us don’t know each other, but we’re just getting to know each other. And I see that there’s this alignment starting to happen now. And it’s around hemp, around cannabis, and it’s around sustainability.
And now we’re in the middle of a Coronavirus, and we see that we’re isolated. And if we can’t get our goods from China, move ships us most of our goods. Here’s a crop that can produce so many things on a local and a domestic level that would make a lot of the products coming from China unnecessary if we were just growing that and doing that here in our own backyards.
Sonia Gomez: Totally, I couldn’t agree more. There’s quite an interesting split. I think that there are two pretty polarizing opposites when it comes to the opinion of Coronavirus. And on the one hand, there’s this like fear-mongering, people who are in an absolute panic about the whole thing I’m, you know, not leaving houses and hoarding toilet paper. And like, all these things that are happening that are really driven by the emotion of fear.
And on the other hand, there’s a sort of light-hearted folk which is not taking it that seriously, I’m finding myself somewhere in the middle. Number one, I think a virus is a virus. Plague is a plague you there’s 10,000 things that we can do on a daily basis that can fortify our systems and create an environment internally that can combat any one of these microbes that will enter us in any capacity.
However, it is the fear and the economic impact that really is driving my concern around the Coronavirus, and I’m talking to, let’s say, eight different businesses. There’s a day right now through my podcast, and I’m recording anywhere from for up to eight different episodes a day. I would say two out of eight of those people or one out of five of those people, more likely one out of five of those people are completely having to close the doors. At least two out of five are firing 20% of their staff at a time. And we are seeing some very significant consolidating efforts happening amongst the industry right now.
Live events are getting shut down. I mean, so many things that seem normal and seem regular are I mean, this Coronavirus scare is quite literally changing the landscape of our world right now. There’s going to be pre-Corona and post Corona existence. How is this Coronavirus interrupting or affecting the momentum that you guys have had as an organization? And what are you guys doing to make the necessary adjustments to move into the future?
Morris Beegle: Well, I agree with everything that you just said, for sure. This is pre-Corona post-Corona like there was pre 911, post 911. Similar, but this is it’s different to I mean, because this is a pandemic, it’s not an attack on our country. And however, all that stuff happened, and we don’t want to probably go down any of those rabbit holes.
Sonia Gomez: That’s a rabbit hole for a joint and a beverage. I’ll tell you what.
How is Coronavirus Impacting the Hemp Market?
Morris Beegle: Exactly. Talk about 911. But now we’re talking Coronavirus, and how it’s impacting all of our businesses and being a live event company at the center of our business. So we just postponed NoCo Hemp Expo, which was going into its seventh year at the end of March, very large impacts, so people come in from all around the world, we’ve got hundreds and hundreds of exhibitors, thousands and thousands of attendees, really kind of the MJBiz on a slightly smaller scale for the hemp side of the plant.
And we moved it down the road to August and in the same location. Hopefully, things have turned around by then. And we’ve figured out that we’re on the down curve, we flatten the curve, now it’s going down. And there are actually things on the market that are going to minimize the effects of the symptoms like a Theraflu for Corona, whatever that might be vaccinations, and we could go down the road on all that stuff too. But the species has to get back to normalcy at some point. Otherwise, the disruption is going to be far more significant than it currently is.
The species has to get back to normalcy at some point, otherwise, the disruption is going to be far more significant than it currently is. - Morris Beegle Click To Tweet
What we’re doing right now is we’re moving our ecosystem into the cloud. And we’re going to be launching a NoCo Hemp Expo first week over 4.22, which is Earth Day, and it’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. And we’re going to have a three-day online conference and trade show. So right now, we are building out our platform to have literally hundreds of exhibitors, sponsors, and an on-demand library of content, and then live content as well talking about all aspects of the supply chain stuff that’s really important right now going into the 2020 season, a lot of the stuff that we were going to be talking about at the live event, we have to be talking about in a virtual event now.
So I think you’re gonna see F, and who’s going to do it well, and who’s gonna not do it? Well, and I hope that we’re one of those that do it. Well, I think we’ve got a good plan. We’ve been really working on it hard the last couple of weeks as we ran into the situation, and then had to reschedule the physical event and adjust some of our other physical events to the rest of the year. But we, you know, we have a staff of people working for us. And we’ve been fortunate to hold and retain everybody at this point, and there could be a couple of contractors that are going to get their hours cut might not have anything for a couple of months.
But overall, we’re holding on to everybody that’s within our circle. And we’re really going to try to maintain that I think that the team that I’ve got is really important. And you look at situations like that, and there’s always opportunity in the midst of chaos. We’ve got chaos right now, but who’s going to figure the opportunities out there. And this, again, is a movement. This is a revolution that doesn’t have to convene necessarily in-person to continue on. We can convene in the cloud. You know, you’ve got podcasts, you’re recording four or five of them a day you’re communicating with your audience. And that’s the way it’s going to be. We’ve got podcasts, lots of podcasts out there. We have to be sharing information, relevant information, speaking to each other, supporting each other coming up with solutions together.
Look at situations like that. There's always opportunity in the midst of chaos. - Morris Beegle Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Totally. I couldn’t agree more. And I feel really blessed right now because one of my greatest skill sets, and I’m a firm believer in working in your lane of genius and bringing yourself in the company of folks who can be a direct complement to your genius. And so my genius happens to be connection and communication and capturing the attention of the audience that I want to serve.
So over the last three years, we’ve built an audience to over 1 million people and have already impacted hundreds of millions. And so I feel a lot less anxiety than most others. But more importantly than that, I feel like such an intense need to be of service to organizations like yours, who is serving the business community, who needs access to the consumers, who want to be able to be in collaboration in an online environment, that still gives them the same access and learning new skill sets on how to capture the attention of their consumer online, connect with them authentically and ultimately convert them into the sales.
So many businesses are going to be depending on what they’re able to do and how they’re able to translate their missions and share their messages online. And it’s pretty challenging because the CBD and cannabis industry is relatively restricted on what they can do and how they can do it because of the type of business that they are. And fortunately, we’ve been able to just like yourself, have we’ve been able to build a platform online that gives, that’s a lot of why I started The Hemp Revolution podcast because of some of my bread and butter in my businesses as a consultant. And I work with a lot of businesses that are grown, starting, and growing.
Focus on 2020
And many of them had no idea about how important it is to, first of all, understand what your story is, tell your story, and then share it across multiple platforms. No one could advertise. And I was like, Well, fuck it. I have this giant audience. Why don’t we just start exposing who the people are behind the products? As we all know, people don’t buy products anyways, they’re buying the people or the brand and the story behind the brands, and that’s why they stay committed. That’s why NoCo has been so successful. I’m interested to know what your guys’ focus was for 2020 and NoCo and what are some of the things that we have to look forward to to the online event and Expo that you’re doing over 4.22?
Morris Beegle: Well, one of the big focuses is we’re in a stage now with the way we’ve been growing this plant for the last four or five years, which has been very CBD dominant, cannabinoid dominant. And last industrial hemp down, as far as grain and fiber go, and the CBD boom is about done. When it comes to the growing aspect of it, people are going to have to really cut back. We’ve got way more supply than we have demand. And not that there’s not a demand for it. But we just like overgrew the market. And so you can only grow so much of that when it comes to grain and fiber. That’s the market that needs to be developed. And you have to diversify. If you’re going to be a farmer, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.
If you're going to be a farmer, you can't put all your eggs in one basket. - Morris Beegle Click To Tweet
And we started talking about this really last year, and we’ve been talking about it, the emphasis is going to get stronger and stronger as you have to diversify and utilize all parts of the plant. That’s what this plant is about the stock, the seed protein, oil, not just CBD oil, but the protein oil, and all the stuff that can be done from the industrial side of it, from textiles to bioplastics, to building materials, to paper packaging, all of that stuff that can truly impact the world, as well as farming practices, organic and regenerative.
And so I think that’s really the key on the basis of where we were going this year is the emphasis of diversifying what you’re growing for developing new markets. So we can start getting this stuff out into the industrial markets for auto manufacturers that get bioplastics, people that need petroleum-based material replacements, and that’s what this crop can do. And we have to be thinking along those lines moving forward, and we just can’t think oh, we’re gonna make all this money by growing CBD CBD CBD that’s kind of run its course at this point. So getting people’s mindsets to shift in the other direction that this plant is really here to do more than just CBD. And in that kind of nutritional health and wellness side of it. There are other things that it can do as well.
Sonia Gomez: I’m so glad to hear you say that. Serious. I mean, one of the biggest complaints that I had in full transparency like in most of these events that I go to is Why are there so many fuckin CBD companies? Excuse my language? We are Uncensored, so permission to speak. But why are there so many CBD companies? And more importantly than that, why are there so many mediocre CBD companies? How is there not like a standard that we’re setting at while we are still a self-governing industry? And it’s a fine line, and I want to I’m going to ask you a really specific question about this because I’m so curious to know how these larger, more impactful events are, how do you use discernment when you are a promoter and a platform for an industry that both consumers and businesses are coming to get connected, and collaborate, massive businesses done at your guys’ events, you have to know that, I mean, people come from all over the world to see, to be educated to get informed to get connected to find that next collaboration.
And although there might be a really powerful representative of a brand, the brand itself may not have the clout or the meat on the bones that its representative has to attract that certain partner. And so one of the things that have been really frustrating for me is seeing a bunch of me-too products and me-too brands featured, you know, in live events, in stores and all over the place, that doesn’t really do much or not a really positive representative to the industry as a whole. And are you kind of falling in the category of snake oil. What are your guys’ criteria? You know, how do you select, you have to have 10s of thousands of inquiries to get into your event as you know, thousands of people want to come and exhibit thousands of people want to come and speak all these things. How do you guys select who’s going to be on your stages? What are the criteria for an exhibitor at your event? How do you create the environment? What are the criteria?
Morris Beegle: Good question. And then we do have criteria because we have a lot of companies that want to participate. Yeah.
Sonia Gomez: And more popping up every day.
Morris Beegle: Yeah, we get blowback by from companies that we’re not getting into the show because we go through and research the A we have a questionnaire form to give us some information about the company go to them–
Sonia Gomez: I know because I’ve applied
Morris Beegle: And first and foremost, we’re not a CBD show. And there’s a lot of CBD Expo this CBD Expo that out there. And a lot of that stuff actually comes from the vape industry in the last few years where you’ve seen all these CBD expos popping up in there converted vape expos that now these vape companies have some CBD skews. And then they’re bringing up other CBD brands.
We never started that way. We’ve been a hemp centric expo and trade show, and conference from the get-go covering all aspects of it. And while we’ve learned heavier into the CBD side of things the last few years because that’s where the money is. That’s where the movement has been from a publicity and market standpoint. While these other markets are still under the radar in developing, you got to kind of cater to what’s happening [crosstalk]. That being able to look at the brands that have been there for the last four or five years that have developed that are legitimate brands from CW Hemp, the Stanley Brothers, they’ve been around for a long time. Palmetto Harmony is Bluebird Botanicals are sciences functional remedies. And there’s a lot of really good brands out there.
So Barlean’s comes from the natural products market, these guys have been making flax oil and doing, they’re legacy natural products brand, it’s probably 30 years, they jump in 2018 that helps give legitimacy to the industry because these products really do work if they are created and manufactured correctly, and our industry needs regulation, it just can’t be self-regulated. We need to have the FDA come in and provide guidelines that are fair guidelines and treat this like a dietary supplement and a food additive.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. When that does happen, it will eliminate a lot of these snake oil. These companies that just are just fly by night companies. They’re there don’t have the resources to fully make compliant products. And you’ve seen the industry really coming together there’s a hemp roundtable people can argue that these guys are you know, you’ve got here 100 companies have come together to work on legislation and policy stuff, and what they are in their companies that have come up just like we have, there’s not like big, multi-billion-dollar companies that are coming in to try to control the industry. These are come up through the cannabis and grassroots entrepreneurial side of things that have been successful and that are sitting at the table together, they’re competitors together, that we have to build this industry and get up legitimize.
And there’s plenty of room for us all to operate. Suppose we do it together, friendly competition, coopetition, collaboration. That’s what it comes down to. And, and there are there’s an emphasis to get AHPA, which is the American Herbal Products Association that’s been dealing with the supplement side of things for 30 years, those guys are very complimentary and helping on the regulatory standpoint and giving us guidance as a new industry because it’s what we’re doing with this is very similar to what’s been done with fish oil, and omegas.
And all these other things that have had to go through this process and the natural products industry is a spot the FDA for a long time, and we’re entering into the same type of battles. And these people that have done it for a long time are good people that care about human health that are there to help us. And so, fortunately, through that, we’ve got a really good alignment with people that will help us move through this period until we get some clarity.
Sonia Gomez: One of the things I love about your guys’ event is, it’s very edutaining. It’s a very like educational environment; some of my best friends and connections are coming out of living events like yours and MJBizCon. Many of the ancillary events and opportunities to connect in a more intimate environment are very much inspired by your event and the MJBizCon organization.
Designing NoCo Hemp Expo
And one of the things that I admire most about you guys is how committed you are to bringing innovative and forward-thinking education to the forefront from all over the world and many different facets of the industry. But it’s also a pretty entertaining place to be. What were your guys’ goals when you were designing NoCo? How do you come up together as a team? And how do you start to create and shape the experience for the attendees? And how soon after the event? Do you start planning for the year following?
Morris Beegle: Well, one thing that we wanted to do when we started this was to create and develop an event that was unique. And it wasn’t like any other event really coming from the music industry, and my partner’s Elizabeth Knight and Lori Buderus, who were the core of WAFBA, which is We Are For Better Alternatives, the WAFBA that you’re saying, so it’s WAFBA [crosstalk]
Sonia Gomez: I need it. Actually, I need a T-shirt now or a necklace that says walk by right here.
Morris Beegle: WAFBA pretty much means badass too so.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, AKA badass.
Morris Beegle: So with the event, we wanted to make it an engaging, educating, entertaining, and a place where both businesses can come together, and network, learn from each other and do business, as well as the general public being able to participate in that and come and learn about all the great things that hemp can do and benefit your personal lives and benefit the planet.
So that’s kind of, that’s where we start from and how can we continue to build this out and add different areas of activity that just makes it fun where people want to continue to come in and do it every year. So I’ve kind of set Lollapalooza up over here is as a model of– Alright, Lollapalooza was super cool when it started off, and you had all these little activities and trade show e festival-type stuff and how do we take kind of that same type of energy and put it into this space? So I can tell you that the Lollapalooza was an influence on the kind of getting to where we are now. Now, it’s totally different than Lollapalooza, but there’s, it was an inspiration for NoCo for sure.
Sonia Gomez: I love that. I want to talk media for a second because one of the things I love and for those of you guys who are budding entrepreneurs in the space or even established business owners, it’s really important to think about how you are diversifying your offers right now. I have to 100% agree with Morris in the sense that, you know, the first of all, there’s 1000 different ways to be involved in this industry, ancillary businesses directly related to the plant. I mean, just there are so many different ways we couldn’t even articulate them all if we wanted to.
Let’s Talk Hemp
But one of the things that I have recognized an upward trend being is in the implementation of media; however, you’ve had your media company and digital media platform for several years now. Tell me a little bit about Let’s Talk Hemp and what your subject matter is. Then someone, where you guys have published up folks, can go and check you out there?
Morris Beegle: So we started, Let’s Talk Hemp at the end of 2015. And really going into 2016, as part of our programming for NoCo Hemp Expo both so the Let’s Talk Hemp portion was going to be a couple of different stages where we had a, Let’s Talk Hemp mainstage. And Let’s Talk Hemp side stage. And it really started with programming, and capturing that content and doing videos that would end up on YouTube. And so that’s where it started by capturing the first couple of years with 2016 2017.
And since then, we’ve added a weekly newsletter. And we’ve added a digital magazine that coincides with our NoCo. And our SHE shows, and we’ve added a podcast to it. And now, we just revamped the website. So we’re gonna continue to build this out with a weekly newsletter that’s got all the original editorial information in there as well as curated info from around the world, whether that’s Hemp Industry Daily or Hemp Today, or Pimp Mag or Cannabis Now or High Times, anybody that’s putting out relevant information that’s pertinent to the industry we curate that week.
And then the digital magazine side of things, again, being able to provide spotlights on the industry different aspects of a different company features or personal features, advertising opportunities, we want to continue to see how we can build out our own media platform that can serve the industry so businesses can connect with consumers, connect with other businesses, service providers, and so on, similar to what you guys are doing, I think that there’s a need for people to be able to connect and people, if you can find companies and organizations and platforms that can connect you to your intended audience, all the better.
Sonia Gomez: I couldn’t agree more. And I think this is a really opportune time in the spirit of Corona and how we’re like forced into metamorphosis right now really interesting time to be focusing on these different platforms and finding points of collaboration with people who already have established platforms.
Russell Brunson, who is a mentor in the marketing industry, just released a book called Traffic Secrets. And in his book, he’s talking about the different methods of getting in front of your ideal customer. And one of those ways is through joint ventures finding audiences that are bigger than yours, or the same size or that is a direct complement to what you guys already have as a business.
And when I was thinking about this as a theory. And for those of you guys who are budding entrepreneurs and trying to consider how to release your products or services into the marketplace. This is an amazing strategy. And you should absolutely check out Traffic Secrets, by Russell Brunson because it’s applicable both on and offline, finding the joint venture opportunities or collaborative partners that you can work with, who can supply you traffic, especially if you’re working on a limited budget is such a powerful way to put your offer in front of your ideal audience.
So this is something that I’ve been missing is wanting to ask the question and sometimes even with my cloud, and with how big I am as an influencer in the space, I think we have the second-largest audience next to the consumer audience next to Cheech and Chong. Don’t quote me on that. But last I checked, it’s like Cheech and Chong, and then me. They have 2 million; I have one little over one. So that was a pretty cool fact for me to find out. And even still, it’s challenging for me, and I have to ask my question, how do I uplevel my game? How do I get to the next level?
So for you guys, I’d love to hear like how do you approach a joint-venture who is bigger than you? Who is the person or the pie in the sky or the organization that you want to collaborate with? That will help elevate and expand the reach of your message, your mission, and expand the vision of your brand and company?
Morris Beegle: Well, that’s a good question. And we’ve actually got a couple of those that are in process, and we’re working with right now. One is the World Ag Expo, and we participated in the middle of February before everything went south. And that was in Talari, California. It’s the largest Ag Expo in the world, and they had a hemp pavilion there with a hemp innovation challenge. And it was like the buzz of the show. And we were the main sponsor in that, and now we’re plugged into the World Ag side of things, and you’ll see hemp getting bigger and bigger in the World of Ag.
At the end of this month, there’s an event called Earth Ex that happens in Dallas every year. It’s the largest birthday celebration in the world. They had, like 177,000 people last year. We participated in their event last year, and we’re the main sponsor this year. They’ve had to postpone as well, they’re moving online, that we’re doing this Earth Day conference in partnership with them. And we’re going to continue to partner with the Earth Ex folks who have Disney nature, National Geographic, and they’ve got some really big partners.
And I see one of my main missions and our mission is to move the hemp industry into the greater overall Earth Ex mothership of how do we really plan out in and help our planet moving forward because it’s going to take the efforts of every one of us on earth to make this change. I mean, everybody needs to play their role stay in their lane. I loved it when you talked about staying in your lane, knowing what your lane is. And we’ve done a good job of that with a walk, but we know what our lanes are, and those that we’re bringing into the organization that aligns with us all kind of fall into a lane.
So identifying your lane, and we all play a role, every single one of us. And that’s what I want to help facilitate. And with these greater partnerships, that’s what I’m looking at how we can serve the greater good, and I see how we can serve Earth Ex. And I see how other, you know, things should move into the Earth Ex ecosystem. And I see that’s going to happen in these coming years.
Sonia Gomez: So exciting. I had chills all over when you were talking about the partnership with the ag. I mean, how powerful is that? I mean, I’m kind of a geek, I’m a geek, you guys seriously like, I’m such a dork when it comes to all of this stuff, but you’re so right when it comes to getting global adoption, we really have to infiltrate global marketplaces, which is the supply chain and everything starts with the farm all the way through and it was so funny to me with this CBD craze. Sorry CBD companies, but I’m fully going to make fun of you right now.
It is so funny to me when people are like my CBD is grown on the underbelly of a virgin goat, that we bleed out and bless in all sacred manners before releasing and extracting and before you ingest it, and it’s like the explanations coming behind these things and the questions that these CBD snobs are asking about their products, and I’m thinking to myself, whilst you’re shoveling ruffled chips into your mouth and stopping through Taco Bell, on your way to this meeting, you’re asking me about the efficacy of this CBD product.
However, do not care two shits about the food that you just fed your face or your family. So can we talk about creating a standard that’s universal across all boards when it comes to ingesting anything? There’s a pretty significant contrast right now. Sorry, CBD. But for me, it’s like another ingredient that is listed in the nutritional facts of your food and creating a new standard. Like I think CBD really opened up a can of worms and created an opportunity for us to ask seven layers deep the questions that we really need to have the answers to. What’s in our soil, how’s it affecting our seed production? How’s it affecting our food production? What is the direct result and reflection of the success of these different farms? How can we see regenerative agriculture become more mainstream? How can we start to build family farms, which is why I think the Coronavirus is somewhat of a blessing because of sense Coronavirus, and stay in your house ordinances when in place.
We’re building gardens, and we’re hanging out with our kids. We’re reminding the children that there’s dirt outside that grows the food they want to feed themselves. There are all of these different things that are kind of blessings in disguise, including clear skies, blue oceans, and tons, and tons of opportunity that you can take advantage of; this is not necessarily Doomsday. It’s an opportunity for innovation.
Looking Forward to 2021 after the Corona Craze
So one of the things I am really curious about from you is what would you like to see happen, and what are some of your predictions for 2020? Moving into 2021? How do you think that the corona craze right now which is the only industry that changes more often than CBD and cannabis, by the way, how do you think the remainder of 2020 is going to roll out in the industry, and what do you think we have to look forward to 2021 after post Corona craze?
Morris Beegle: I would say that this year is gonna things are gonna restrict and pull back. Now I don’t think people will plant as much as they did last year; I think that there’s going to be some just stepping back and kind of looking at the market and reevaluation and seeing where we go into 2021 there will be people still growing, innovation will start happening on a processing standpoint for fiber and grain more here in the United States, I think you’ll see more infrastructure being built out that way. From a growing standpoint, I think farmers are setting out a bunch of material, and they jumped into this thing think they were gonna make all this money because of CBD and they were sold a bill of goods by consultants and genetics companies that’s like they just got oversold a bill of goods.
And so people will step back reevaluate. And I think when the dust settles, and we move into 2021-2022, there’ll be more FDA clarity, there will be more USDA clarity, the funding and investment situation I think will clear up and people will realize that we’re going to be putting money into weather that might be biotechnologies that can help make paper and pulp and packaging and bioplastic stuff rather than let’s buy another extraction system that’s and extract a bunch of crudes and then turn it into isolette or distillate I think that you’ll see less and less of that.
Sonia Gomez: I agree 100%. Let’s talk on paper. I have searched high and low for heavy packaging. I’m looking for the paper I’m looking for printable materials, I’m looking for boxes, I’m can’t find the shit anywhere. I finally found an ocean plastics company, which is pretty cool. Tell me a little bit about your guys’ hemp paper boutique. Tree Free Hemp?
Morris Beegle: So coming out of actually a printing type business with what I was doing in the music industry and doing printing and packaging, having a skill set in commercial printing it’s like I wanted to get into hemp paper and I found hemp paper company out of San Diego called Greenfield Paper yeah who’s been making hemp paper for since the 90s. And really the only commercial manufacturer here in North America over the last really 20 years or so.
And we got in is buying their papers started Tree Free Hemp and really is a printing company. And during this time, we explored the entire paper and printing market because it is challenging it’s like well hemp paper, as a movement talked about oh hemp can make the best paper hemp was used making paper hundreds of years ago and bla bla bla bla bla, and it’s true. They used to rag paper-primarily was made from hemp. They take old rags that were made from hemp, and then you put that stuff down, and that’s how they made paperback in the 1617-1800s was using old rags and recycling and repurposing, which is great. I mean, our species has been recycling and repurposing forever, and hopefully, we can continue to do that in a better–
Our species has been recycling and repurposing forever and hopefully we can continue to do that. - Morris Beegle Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Get back to our roots.
Morris Beegle: Yeah, exactly. But over the course of the last five years, it’s kind of stayed somewhat the same. There are some technologies out there, and a friend of mine, Carl Lehrburger, has a company in Fort Lupton called PureHemp Technology, which is part of pure vision technology that’s a biorefinery been in business since the early 90s. They have recently launched pure hemp pulp and paper with their new CCR technology, which is a counter current reactor and allows it to separate the hemp stock in the materials into buckets. Like in three or four minutes. It’s very efficient.
And you’d split it into pulps lignans and sugars, and you can just take those pulps and refine that into a variety of paper pulps, whether that would be for business cards, packaging, or soft tissue like toilet paper and napkins and facial wipes and stuff like that. There are people working on this technology. It still needs to be upscaled. We need to get paper manufacturers who are hurting as well. The paper industry is not a healthy industry. Their margins are super slim. It’s a dirty industry and trying to create this stuff that’s eco friendly, that you’re not using chlorine and a lot of these other toxic chemicals that in turn get into our waterways and then get into our oceans and acidify and nasty stuff.
There is I think that there is light at the end of the tunnel that there is an emphasis on going to more of this crop base, whether that’s using hemp, whether that’s using wheat straw, Chenette, cotton, there are other materials besides wood that you’re going to see start filling this paper and packaging supply chain. And it’s just going to be incrementally it’s going to take a bit of time, but it is happening. My friend, Ed, just signed a deal with one of the biggest paper makers in the world to start this moving forward in. How long is it going to take three years, five years, ten years? It’s starting now. And it’s going to take however long it takes.
Sonia Gomez: Man, so cool. This is also so exciting and so inspiring to be able to hear about participating. I’m more and more feeling honored to be a part of this industry. Sometimes I take for granted the work that we have put in to get to where we are, and really understanding how you know you or myself or anyone else has contributed to the growth of this industry.
As I was mentioning earlier, there are 1000 different ways to be involved in this space. And most people want to jump in two feet to starting their own business. When in fact, it takes a tremendous amount of resources, a certain amount of skill sets, or the right team, to be able to get yourself in a space where you’re just not going to fail, and the whole project blows up in your face.
The other two ways to get involved are developing new skill sets that will allow you to get a job in the space, which is probably the best way to get educated on how to run your own business, or tailoring an existing business or a certain set of skills, which you’ve done really, really well into building another brand or catering to this industry. You’ve done all three, you’ve gone into industries that you’re passionate about, but maybe don’t know a ton about letting people work in their genius and being a support system, bringing what you have to the table.
Words of Wisdom
You have tailored your existing skillsets to start one of what is now recognized as a global organization and meeting and gathering place for the industry. And you’re continuing to innovate every single day. What would be some key pieces of advice, one or two key pieces of advice that you could offer the budding entrepreneur or business owner to help them weather the storm or make that quantum leap from startup to establish a business?
Morris Beegle: Well, I think that you have to do what you’re passionate about. First and foremost, if you can make your business what you love and what you’re passionate about. That’s my first piece of advice. I mean, I’m passionate about being in this industry and doing what I’m doing. I’m very happy I was passionate about the music industry too music, you know, you got to take your bumps and your bruises because nothing is easy.
So A, being passionate, B, being persistent, and not giving up. Knowing that you just got to keep forging forward, because you’re gonna run into obstacles. Regardless, you never know when the next pandemic is gonna fucking pop up in front of your face. And be you have to see, I guess, be authentic, and just be transparent and be who you are. And I think that in itself will attract your tribe. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Isn’t somebody say that before?
You just got to keep forging forward, because you're gonna run into obstacles. - Morris Beegle Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: You just send it right now. So it doesn’t matter what was said. Now, but absolutely, really good pieces of advice. And I will circle back and just piggyback off of what you’re saying and offer some resources that I mean, honestly, there’s no better advice that you could get, being passionate, being persistent and committed and prepared is really super important. Again, you never know when the pandemic is gonna show up, you really have to be prepared. And I think we take for granted and you know, push too much of our resources of time, team, and money outwards without planning for any one of these potential disasters that could interrupt your business.
But I want to, and in the spirit of building your tribe with your vibe, I will offer some resources. Russell Brunson, the Traffic Secrets book, is the third book in a series number one was Dotcom Secrets, and it was all about building your business online and the opportunities that make themselves available by leveraging the internet to reach a broader audience and build a global enterprise.
The second book was Expert Secrets, one of my favorites because it actually helped me to recognize my own ability to capture the attention of the audience that I wanted to serve, first of all, articulating who do I want to solve what problem for? Why? Right. How does my product solve a particular problem for a particular person, and then also understanding that I myself can be the expert that’s something that somebody can follow to get the solution that they’re looking for their problem? Experts Secrets was one of the most profound pieces of literature that I could have read while understanding my role as a community head on the internet, and the subject of cannabis and hemp definitely recommend that one.
And now Traffic Secrets is all about building the castle, and you think people are going to come, people think, okay, I’ll just build the business and people are going to show up, that’s actually not the case. You have to find multiple sources of traffic in order to get them. I mean, I’m sure you can say, Morris, that you’re not just marketing and one channel to fill your events. You have a diversified approach to attracting the people that you want there, correct?
Morris Beegle: Absolutely. I’ve taken the guerrilla marketing, music industry, street team. Free tickets, try to get people in the door mentality. I’ve done everything I can to fill up the floor with exhibitors. Now, how do we fill it up with attendees? And the right attendees and the right attendees are good business people, good educators, and then the general public that’s curious and interested in hemp and cannabis and all that they can do. And so and how can we get as many of those folks in the door, and we have used multiple channels.
Sonia Gomez: So that’s the name of the game as diversifying the ways that you can attract or capture the attention of your ideal customer. So Russell Brunson is one of the world’s leaders. And when it comes to online conversions, and being able to take somebody through a buying process, the small commitment all the way to the big picture, yes, that you want to get from them online, so that they are captured and engaged in your process those three books with Russell Brunson, the Click Funnels Community, and Dotcom Secrets, Expert Secrets, and Traffic Secrets are must-haves along with Roger James Hamilton’s The Millionaire Master Plan, which talks about how to leverage the power of the universe paired with your unique skill sets to work in your direct genius, and how to build your team around you so that you can bring the most amount of value into the marketplace with the most amount of leverage so that your impact and your income meters are both firing at the same level.
These are some go-to must-have pieces of literature while you are starting, conceptualizing, and building your businesses. And the final thing that I will say is that anything and everything that you do starts with your vision. And your vision has to be big enough to enroll in the team that you want to help you by your time so that you can stay a visionary in your business. And the mission must be greater than yourself. If people feel like they are enrolling in something that is bigger than themselves, they will be so committed and so diehard with you, and it’s no longer about the product. It’s not about profitability. But the change that you want to see together and how you’re going to create or invoke that change as a team.
Now is the time, and I implore you to change the way that you have always done things and adapt and innovate so that you can we can continue to inspire and transform the way that we think about talking about and integrate hemp and cannabis into our families and communities. That’s my words of wisdom for the day. Morris, where can folks find you if they want to follow your journey and to be a part of your online and offline ventures?
Where to Find Them
Sonia Gomez: By the way, big up on the branding for the SHE Expo, that was probably one of the most genius beautiful sides. So whoever is in charge over there and putting all of those things together absolutely gorgeous. For those of you guys who are tuning in, all of the social media handles and websites will be posted around today’s episode. Thank you so much for being a part of our hemp revolution community and the medical secrets family.
I invite you now to take one simple action with us, like and share while you tag five people who you believe will get a benefit from this episode because you take this simple action because you like to share and tag five people that you believe this will make a difference for we’ve been able to impact hundreds of millions of people’s lives around the world, quite literally changing the way that we think about and talk about cannabis in our families and communities.
When you do this, we are able to move the needle and actually change the way that we think that we work with cannabis and hemp all around the world. We are quite literally moving the needle on safe access for the patients and people who want and need this incredible plant in their lives. So like share tag five people. I’m your hostess with the mostess Sonia Gomez, and this is The Hemp Revolution. We’ll see you guys on our next show.
James Brinkerhoff: Thanks for listening to this episode. We took notes on this episode for you, along with all the links and resources mentioned in the episode. Get them free on the show notes page here at www.medicalsecrets.com. If you love this show and our content, please subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you really want to help us get the message out there, please rate the review and tell all your friends with your help. We can continue to reach the world with our message. And until next time, we hope you join The Hemp Revolution, and we challenge you to dream big and love the life you live.
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